Mulberry and Milk Pudding (Tootiyeh wMuhallabiyeh)

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My parents eat four meals a day at a set time; even when  five-ton bombs are landing everywhere, the schedule is respected.  At four o’clock  they  eat  fruits,  puddings and  pastries; I saw my mother consuming supermarket puddings filled with sugar and additives. Shou? Quoi? I will not allow it!  So I made this using  some  homemade  mulberry syrup and my conscience was at rest.

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Mulberry is one fruit that I think everyone should taste  before they die. Lebanon used to produce silk a couple of centuries ago and mulberry trees were grown by the thousands. Mulberry leaves were part of the silk-producing chain.   France (Lyon) and Lebanon had an ongoing silk trade. That was the reason behind Lebanese folks speaking French as my dad likes to point out frequently.

Today, the mulberry tree that is grown is the one that bears fruit.  Every Lebanese will admit to stealing mulberries from a neighbor’s tree; the best ones are the purple ones. Most people who own a mulberry tree will gather the berries and make a syrup; the syrup will keep for a long time and if you pay someone a visit, it is customary to be offered some mulberry juice made with this syrup. (for a detailed explanation on how the syrup is made, check Beth’s Dirty Kitchen Secrets); it is posted as sharab al-toot (mulberry drink)

toot

I read in Chef Ramzi’s The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon that country folks even make a pudding similar to a milk pudding or muhallabiyeh with the mulberry syrup, called tootiyeh (toot is the Arabic word for mulberry).  Bottles  labeled “toot syrup” ( syrop de mures) in middle-eastern grocery stores are  often deceiving and what one gets instead is blackberry syrup, which is a far cry from the real thing.

INGREDIENTS: To make 4 servings

  • 5 ounces mulberry syrup (can substitute rose syrup or blackberry )
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour or cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water to dilute the starch in

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METHOD:

  1. Pour the syrup into a measuring cup.  Add enough hot water to measure 1 1/2 cups.
  2. Dilute the cornflour into the 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.
  3. Heat the syrup and water mixture and when it starts to steam add the cornstarch mixture stirring constantly for a few minutes until thickened.
  4. Pour through a strainer into the measuring cup. Pour into individual servings dishes and let cool.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups of milk ( or better yet, half milk half cream)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cornflour or cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water, 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water

METHOD:

  1. Dilute the cornstarch in the 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl
  2. Heat the milk and cream until steam appears; add the sugar and add the cornstarch mixture.
  3. Stir constantly for a few minutes until thickened. Add the flavorings.
  4. Strain into a measuring cup. Pour into individual bowls using a large spoon, one spoonful at a time, on top of the mulberry pudding.
  5. Decorate with half a loukoum, or whatever else you you wish.

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P.S:

I just spent one hour this morning with Muallem Philippe, a man who personifies the old-fashioned and seasoned farmer. He lives in Fawwara, a village in the Shouf region and oversees several orchards ours among them. I was asking him about the possibility of growing mulberries commercially in Lebanon. His answer was: My dear lady, it has taken this mulberry tree (on our property) nine years to bear some fruit. Most of it was eaten by the birds. To grow this variety of mulberry tree (called al-toot al-shamee) is an uphill struggle: In short, forget it! Besides, producers are cheating all the time, adding fake mulberry and (or) rose essences to their syrup.

 

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17 Comments

  1. Posted December 27, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Tsk tsk to your mother for eating storebought pudding, especially when she has you to make her some delicious homemade pudding! And can you believe I’ve never had a mulberry? How crazy is that. Your pudding looks delicious.

  2. Posted December 27, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I love mulberry. Your pudding look just extraordinary!

  3. Posted December 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’d love some of that Muhallabiyeh. I have never tried mulberry syrup although we used to eat a lot of mulberries in Cyprus as my sister had a large tree in her yard. I remember when I was at school I had some larvae in a box and they made their cocoons. In Athens there are a lot of mulberry trees planted in the streets but I don’t think they are edible because of the pollution.

  4. Posted December 27, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    The word for berry is “toot” in Farsi too. There are different kind of berries but I agree that everyone should taste mulberry before they die! love the recipe. Happy Holidays!

  5. Posted December 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    That looks like a great pudding, and homemade is always best. My parents have a mulberry tree, but I’ve never made syrup. Maybe next spring.

  6. Posted December 27, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    raw, the mulberries I ate were delicious. I was told the white ones are sweeter, but I preferred the deep purplish black. Finns make berry pudding/syrup, too, but they call it “kiiseli”. My mother made some, as usual, for Christmas Eve, but on Christmas Eve it is made of dried fruit– prunes, raisons and apricots. In summer, strawberries, raspberries or rhubarb.

  7. Posted December 28, 2009 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    thanks for this receipe..

  8. dana
    Posted December 28, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Joumana, this looks heavenly. Mulberry is my absolute favorite fruit. We should talk one of the farmers to grow it here for us in North Texas.

    Cheers,
    Dana

  9. Posted December 28, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I love to just stand under the mulberry tree and eat its fruits one right after the other. And your pudding looks delicious, as always.
    Have a very good New Year!! :)

  10. Posted December 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    wow Joumana ,

    this is one of the best fruits ever, we are blessed in Lebanon to enjoy all these gorgeous fruits ,
    Never heard of the Tootier, thanks for sharing…

  11. Posted December 29, 2009 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    C’est une recette que tu me fais découvrir !
    Je te souhaite une belle fête pour le Nouvel An !
    Bisous, Doria

  12. Posted December 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Superbe association, merci pour cette recette

  13. Posted December 31, 2009 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    What a divine dessert! Very apart & ooh so tasty looking!!

    MMMMMM,…who can resist??

  14. Posted January 4, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Ahlala je peux pas arrêter de “baver” (excuse-moi) devant tes recettes. Je ne connais pas trop la cuisine libanaise mais ton blog est une réelle invitation au voyage. Il faut absolument que je trouve un bon restaurant libanais sur Paris (il doit y en avoir plein). Ou bien je me lance et je teste tes recettes si j’arrive à trouver tout ce dont j’ai besoin.
    En tout cas, je te souhaite une merveilleuse année 2010, pleine de bonheur et de réussite. Bises, Julie

  15. cmiranda
    Posted January 5, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Very intresting recipe.Worth making if I can get a hold of some mulberries or mulberry syrup.But where I live, even in Middle-Eastern stores its not very easy to find.

  16. Kathy
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    My grandmother had a mulberry tree and the birds ate most of the berries. As young children we were lucky to get a few handfuls of berries to eat while playing outdoors.

  17. Posted May 30, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    In Sindhi also mulberry is called toot :)

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